Category: Better Writing

From the Mailbag: Do you use a writer’s notebook?

  |   Better Writing

John writes with a question I’ve heard before. The short version is, “Do you use a writer’s notebook?” The questions behind the question are, “Should I have a writer’s notebook? How should I use it?” The romance around the writer’s notebook goes back to poets such as Dylan Thomas. Thomas mined his notebooks  »  Read More

The Productive Part-time Author: Finish Things before Moving On

  |   Better Writing

Have you ever tossed and turned all night thinking about a task you left unfinished on your desk? You’ve been a victim of the Zeigarnik Effect. It’s named for Bluma Zeigarnik. who was a Russian psychologist in the early 20th century. She discovered that uncompleted or interrupted tasks are easier to remember than  »  Read More

From the Mailbag: How can you tell when you’re done editing?

  |   Better Writing

Sharon wrote to ask me how you know when it’s time to quit editing. I responded with the following story from my past. Jon was the first editor I worked with consistently. One of the first lessons he taught me was that Hemingway was right, “All first drafts are crap.” I had handed in my very first project to him. He  »  Read More

Writing a Book: Learning to be More Productive

  |   Better Writing

You become a better writer two ways. You learn to write better content with a simple learning loop. You write. You get some feedback. You do better next time. But that’s only one way you improve. While you’re writing a book, you should become a more productive writer. Every writer wants to write more good stuff faster  »  Read More

Writing a Book: Try what works for others first

  |   Better Writing

It’s hard to write a book while you work full-time at something else. It’s even harder because you still have family and social obligations.  Those relationships matter. It would be great if you didn’t lose your mind, too. You’ll try any writing tip that promises it will make everything work. no matter how  »  Read More

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